Innovation Clusters: Water is Gold

Forget the gold rush.  A “water rush” is underway and water rich states are well positioned.

Just a few short years ago businesses expanding or relocating were likely to cite broadband and transportation networks among the most important factors in their decision process.  The Southwestern U.S. has been targeted for the majority of this investment activity. But with below average snowpack, higher temperatures, growing consumption, and extreme drought appearing to be the new normal, water has quickly become the new gold.

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365 Days (and counting) of Building Better Communities

365 days can fly by when you do something you really enjoy.  Last year, on September 1, we launched Fourth Economy Consulting – so today is our birthday!  Of course the idea and planning a new company occurred many months prior, but this is the day that we told the IRS that we were ready to pay our fair share.

It has been an exciting year for us as we talk to old and new friends about our vision, our brand and the new things we are doing.  As we look back, we would like to pause to thank our friends and great clients that have invested in our work.  Our firm has grown in the past year from it just being Steve, Jerry and me to now including Tim and Chelsea.

Creating jobs for people in this economy is a really rewarding experience and one that we plan to continue as the next 365 days greet us.  Over the past year we have:

  • Pioneered work in analyzing the water industry as an economic driver with a project in the Pittsburgh region that resulted in the “Pittsburgh H2Opportunity” report and in Philadelphia with, “Capturing the Storm” that  details economic opportunities of green stormwater management.  Recently we provided assistance to the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance to identify European water-related companies that may want to invest in the Pittsburgh region.  Sure, you knew we are all wet but did you know that the community that plans for the water opportunity best will keep afloat? (of course I apologize)
  • We continued to serve as strategy developer and project manager for one of the nation’s strongest multi-state regional collaborations, the TechBelt Initiative.
  • We worked with several colleges and universities that are looking to invest and support enhanced community and economic development in their neighborhoods.  From technology transfer, to campus planning, we have supported their thinking and helped develop actionable strategies.
  • We helped a few clients develop better strategic plans to manage their work in this time of economic and political uncertainty.
  • We supported Energy-sector cluster development through a host of strategies and tools designed to create a deeper and broader level of collaboration.  A key principle that we see needed in the fourth economy is a better alignment of assets and interests and we are doing our part to support it.
  • We continue to build industry relationships, helping them seek out new locations to expand and invest.

There are many more projects we have been engaged in over the past year and I encourage you to look at the Project Portfolio section of our website for more information. 

While I was at the beach this summer (yes, I even got a vacation), I took a moment to reflect on where we’ve been and the path before us.  The team that we have assembled, the national community that we are working with and the need for a fresh perspective provides us with limitless opportunity.  I look forward to speaking with you about how we should be collaborating and investing some of the days ahead together.